On the Trail
By David A. Edwards
Come with us to explore an important place in Church history!
Illustrations by Sal Velluto; photographs by Rick Wallace
In 1847 covered wagons carrying pioneers began rolling into the Salt Lake Valley. But thousands more people who wanted to come to the valley couldn’t afford wagons or animals to pull them.
Then President Brigham Young had an idea.
The Saints can travel by handcart! They are much less expensive than wagons, and people could pull the carts themselves!
In 1856, five groups of pioneers left Iowa pulling handcarts. Three companies arrived safely in the Salt Lake Valley. But two of the handcart companies left too late in the year and had trouble on the trail.
One of the groups that had trouble was the Martin handcart company.
We’re almost out of food, and we weren’t prepared for this freezing weather!
People are dying!
President Young heard about the struggling pioneers, so he sent a rescue team to find them.
The rescuers found the pioneers and helped them move to a nearby cove for shelter. To get there, they had to cross the icy Sweetwater River. The rescuers carried many of the pioneers across. That night a blizzard hit. The pioneers’ tents were blown down, and more people died.
Hold on! We’re almost to the cove!
After five days the handcart pioneers left Martin’s Cove. Eventually they met more rescue wagons. On November 30 they finally made it to the Salt Lake Valley.
Hurrah! We’ve reached Zion at last!
Kathryn, Wyatt, and Taplan S., along with their mom, visited Martin’s Cove, Wyoming. It’s a special place where some of the pioneers found shelter on their long, hard journey west.
Each year many visitors come to Martin’s Cove to pull handcarts on pioneer treks. It helps them think about the great sacrifices the pioneers made to travel to a place where they could build temples and live the gospel.
The pioneers took along flour, blankets, and pots and pans for cooking. You can see this display inside the visitors’ center at the Mormon Handcart Historic Site.
Cut out and paste to the “On the Trail” map in the July issue.